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Meta is expanding end-to-end encryption on Messenger

The announcement comes days after the reveal of a high-profile Nebraska abortion case, though the company says the move is unrelated.

Messenger call

Meta announced in its blog post that it will start introducing end-to-end encrypted chats by default in a test group.

Photo: Meta

Meta announced it is expanding end-to-end encryption in Messenger, just days after news broke that the company gave Nebraska law enforcement Messenger chats between a 17-year-old girl and her mother discussing a medical abortion. Meta told Wired the announcement and the Nebraska case are unrelated, however, Meta would not have been able to access the chats if the girl and mother had used end-to-end encryption.


Meta has been testing and rolling out more privacy features within Messenger for a while now, including "Vanish Mode" and end-to-end encrypted group calls. Using end-to-end encryption is optional for users right now. But Meta announced in its blog post that it will start introducing end-to-end encrypted chats by default in a test group. The company is also testing secure storage of end-to-end encrypted chats, and removing Vanish Mode.

"We’ve had this date in the diary for months, but the short notice is because Messenger product teams have been finalizing the tests that are going live," Meta spokesperson Alex Dziedzan told Wired. "These tests will start Thursday. We want people to hear about these tests from us before they see changes in the app."

Law enforcement served Meta a search warrant in June requesting private data to help with its investigation. Meta said in a blog post that the warrant did not mention abortion, and was served before the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade. Still, the Messenger chats helped law enforcement prosecute the girl for allegedly inducing a miscarriage after the state's 20-week abortion limit.

Tech Employee Survey

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Protocol's inaugural survey of tech workers dives deep into how employees across tech feel about the existential regulatory issues facing their industry.

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Big Tech executives do a lot of talking. On their platforms, in interviews and on Capitol Hill. But Silicon Valley's uber-rich and powerful CEOs don't always speak for the whole tech industry or even their own employees, who are increasingly finding themselves at odds with their companies' most senior leadership.

To take a pulse of where tech employees across the country stand on key regulatory and policy issues facing the industry, Protocol is introducing its first Tech Employee Survey. Our goal is to regularly track the attitudes and behaviors of not just tech leaders, but also the people they lead.

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Shakeel Hashim

Shakeel Hashim ( @shakeelhashim) is a former growth manager at Protocol, based in London. He was previously an analyst at Finimize covering business and economics, and a digital journalist at News UK. His writing has appeared in The Economist and its book, Uncommon Knowledge.

Tech Employee Survey

How tech workers feel about China, AI and Big Tech’s tremendous power

Protocol's inaugural Tech Employee Survey dives deep into how employees across tech feel about the existential issues facing their industry.

Image: Cameron Smith / Protocol

Big Tech executives do a lot of talking. On their platforms, in interviews and on Capitol Hill. But Silicon Valley's uber-rich and powerful CEOs don't speak for the whole tech industry or even their own employees, who are increasingly finding themselves at odds with their companies' most senior leadership.

To take a pulse of where tech employees across the country stand on key issues facing the industry, Protocol is introducing its first Tech Employee Survey, a survey of 1,578 employees nationwide, from C-suite level executives to associates. They hail mostly from large tech companies — almost 40% of respondents work at companies with annual revenue over $500 million and most of the companies have more than 1,000 employees.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a former tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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